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Candidate, New Mexico House Of Representatives
District 57

Michelle Sandoval

Climate Science-Based Policy

  1. Do you agree with climate scientists that we are facing a climate emergency?

    1. Yes

  2. Do you agree with climate scientists that the brunt of the impacts we face due to climate change will be put on those who contributed the least emissions? (The global South, Indigenous, and low-income communities)

    1. Yes

  3. Do you agree with climate scientists that greenhouse gas emissions must be reversed within 6 years in order to achieve carbon neutrality in time to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and to avoid catastrophic runaway climate disruption? - IPCC Report

    1. Yes

  4. If elected, what specific policies will you initiate in your first year of service to begin transitioning our state economy from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy within the timeframe set by the world's leading scientist?

    1. I plan to focus on policies promoting renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, green infrastructure projects, and incentivizing businesses to adopt circular economy practices. Additionally, I'll advocate for policies that support job training and workforce development in green industries to ensure a smooth transition for workers.

Community Engagement Questions

  1. What are the current needs or issues you see across the state, city, or county and how do you plan on addressing those issues if you are elected?

    1. In New Mexico, water scarcity is a pressing issue and when elected I plan to invest in water conservation and management projects and work with local government entities to implement efficient water usage strategies. Additionally, I would like to improve access to healthcare especially in underserved areas. By increasing access to telehealth services and investing in local health centers. Economic Diversification is another pressing issue, which I intend on attracting investments into renewable energy and tourism while supporting small businesses with grants and incentives. Lastly, education disparity is at an all time high. I will advocate for increased funding, especially to schools in underserved communities.

  2. What is your vision of the ideal relationship between communities and environmental/climate justice?

    1. The ideal relationship is one of collaboration and mutal respect. Communities should have a strong voice in environmental decision-making processes. Especially those directly impacted by pollution, climate change, or environmental degradation. Environmental policies should prioritize the needs and concerns of communities, ensuring that they receive equitable access to clean air, water, and natural resources.

  3. What role do you believe communities actively play in policy development? Especially when addressing issues that have been inherited and faced for generations?

    1. They bring firsthand experiences, historical context, and solutions from their day to day lives. By involving them, policies become more relevant, trusted, and effective. It's about tapping into their knowledge and understanding and resilience to create lasting change together. Empowering communities as active participants in policy development, strengthens communication channels, transparency and adds more to the policies being made.

  4. What changes will you propose so that community driven solutions have equitable influence over policy-making, and are valued as much if not more than private profit driven solutions?

    1. I'll push for more community involvement in decision-making, giving them a real seat at the table. We'll prioritize funding and resources for community-led initiatives, ensuring their voices count. Elected officials are public servants and should strive to be so. The decisions that are made should all be in support of constituents and our community.

  5. How do you plan on engaging communities and youth in policy development or proposals?

    1. I would love to implement town hall meetings, community forums, and online surveys to gather input and feedback from younger age groups. I'll establish advisory boards or councils comprising community members and youth representatives to provide ongoing input on policy proposals. I will work on outreach and education initiatives that target specifically at youth, including school visits, youth-led workshops, and mentorship programs to empower young people to participate in the policymaking process.

  6. Describe your previous experience working on social/health/environmental justice issues, do you have experience working with impacted communities to co-develop solutions?  How will you use this experience to tackle the climate crisis?

    1. Before running for office, I started the Eco-Warriors, a group where high schoolers team up for cleanup projects. Seeing young people get involved firsthand reinforced how vital community action is. If I'm elected, I'll bring that same spirit to tackling climate change, working closely with communities to find real solutions together.

A Just Transition

  1. What connections do you believe exist between our state/local economy and budget and environmental and climate impacts? How will you work to ensure that the state/local budget fosters economic, environmental, and climate justice?

    1. We need to make sure our state/local budget works for everyone, economically and environmentally. That means investing in green projects that create jobs and protect our surroundings. We'll also support businesses going green and set up funds to tackle environmental injustices. It's about building a fairer, cleaner future for everyone.

  2. How do you see the role of oil and gas corporations in New Mexico’s future as a result of the climate crisis?

    1. Oil and gas corporations in New Mexico could pivot towards cleaner energy solutions, contributing to a more sustainable future in response to the climate crisis. This shift could involve investing in renewable energy projects and adopting environmentally friendly practices, aligning with environmental concerns. Especially being mindful of closing the wells and decommissioning properly.

  3. Define environmental racism in your own words and provide an example in NM.

    1. Environmental racism is when marginalized communities, often racial or ethnic minorities, face a higher exposure to pollution and environmental hazards due to discriminatory practices. In New Mexico, this could include siting hazardous waste facilities near Indigenous or Hispanic communities, leading to health disparities and lower quality of life.

  4. How will you be playing a role in a just transition away from fossil fuels for NM?

    1. I would love to support more electric vehicle stations across New Mexico, making hybrid and electric vehicles more enticing for New Mexicans to obtain. Additionally, support financing initiatives for more sustainable measures and means to do business.

  5. Do you believe climate action is an issue of intergenerational justice? What is the responsibility of your generation to the youth and future generations if elected? Explain.

    1. Climate action is an issue of intergenerational justice. It is my generation's responsibility to prioritize policies that mitigate climate change, invest in renewable energy, and promote environmental education to secure a healthier and more sustainable future for younger generations. If younger people and generations get engaged with government we can make such an impact.

  6. How can pollution and contamination impact our youth and communities?

    1. Pollution and contamination can harm youth and communities by causing health problems, compromising air and water quality, and disrupting agriculture and overall well-being. Addressing these issues is crucial for a healthier and more sustainable future.

  7. How will you include Traditional Land Based Knowledge when developing policy?

    1. Including Traditional Land Based Knowledge in policy development means respecting and incorporating the wisdom of Indigenous communities regarding land stewardship and resource management. This involves actively engaging Indigenous leaders and knowledge holders in decision-making processes.

  8. If elected, will you support investing some of the money from oil and gas revenues to fund A) dedicated resources for a Just Transition Study to model alternative economic pathways for our state including oil and gas revenue replacement and phase-down B) create a just transition fund to invest in community-driven climate planning for local economies to divest from harmful industries and build alternative economic visions and investments that effectively contribute to climate mitigation and community health?  Explain.

    1. Yes, I will support investing oil and gas revenues into both a dedicated Just Transition Study and a just transition fund. These initiatives will help model alternative economic pathways and empower communities to divest from harmful industries, contributing to climate mitigation and community health.

  9. Name specific alternative sources for state/local revenue that you'd pursue and propose if elected

    1. If elected, I'd explore revenue sources like renewable energy, eco-tourism, sustainable agriculture, technology innovation, and conservation services to diversify our economy away from oil and gas dependency.

  10. Do you support the development of Hydrogen energy, nuclear energy, and/or carbon capture and sequestration in NM? Why or Why Not?

    1. Yes, I am currently an employee of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and I see the benefits from the inside and outside perspective. We have the capacity, capability and skills it takes as we house two National Laboratories to make this transition and to support these energy alternatives. Opening up windows of job opportunities, governmental funding and state exposure.

  11. Do you support community ownership of energy where Cities/Counties/Indigenous Nations are able to own, produce, and sell electricity to residents and keep energy dollars local?

    1. I support initiatives that empower local communities to take control of their energy resources. Community ownership of energy can foster economic growth, enhance energy resilience, and promote sustainability.

  12. What do you believe is the fossil fuel industry/utility’s responsibility for cleanup and how as an elected official in the public office for which you are running do you plan to hold industry accountable for pollution and cleanup?

    1. I believe the fossil fuel industry and utilities bear responsibility for environmental cleanup. I'll ensure they meet stringent regulations, face penalties for pollution, and encourage the shift towards renewable energy to mitigate environmental harm.I will work to promote renewable energy alternatives and incentivize the transition away from fossil fuels, reducing the need for cleanup efforts in the long run. Also, by strengthening environmental regulations this includes imposing fines and penalties for non-compliance and establishing funds specifically designated for environmental cleanup and restoration.

  13. Do you support the State Land Office’s moratorium/prohibition on new oil and gas leasing on state trust lands within one mile of schools or other educational facilities? | Would you support legislation to create  a public health buffer zone prohibiting oil and gas drilling within one mile of schools on ALL NM lands?

    1. Yes

  14. Have you accepted any donations from fossil fuel companies or utilities? 

    1. No

  15. Can you commit to not accepting donations or funds from fossil fuel companies if you are elected?

    1. Yes

  16. What are your ideas to loosen the grip of industry on the state legislature and strengthen our democracy?

    1. To diminish industry influence on the state legislature and strengthen democracy, I suggest campaign finance reforms, stricter lobbying regulations, and measures to enhance voter participation and representation.

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